The Next Step in the Evolution of the Bolt Action Rifle
In the last 20 years, we’ve seen dramatic improvements in optics, laser rangefinders, factory ammunition, barrel production, triggers, and scope mounts. However, the bolt-action rifle hasn’t changed significantly in the last 100 years. Some of the finest custom rifles made today are built on the Mauser actions that were actually machined in the first decade of the last century!
Even though there haven’t been significant advances in rifle stock materials and production, the basic design of the hunting rifle stock hasn’t changed significantly until the introduction of the metal “chassis” rifle stock sometime in the last decade. I realize how vague that may sound, but after hours on the internet, I couldn’t begin to piece together the evolution of the chassis style stock. Whatever it may be, the Outdoorsmans has put its stamp on this history with the introduction of their own rifle chassis system designed specifically for hunting applications.
Why a Chassis System?
The chassis stock is simply an aluminum stock. While every serious shooter and gun writer will have his own opinion as to why they like the Outdoorsmans Chassis System, I’m intrigued for two very important reasons.
Reason 1: Consistency. The Outdoorsmans Rifle Chassis System provides a perfectly stable platform for the rifle action and a completely free-floating barrel. It’s common knowledge that a wooden stock is susceptible to slight warping when it absorbs or releases moisture. This ever-so-slight change in shape changes the pressure applied to the action or the barrel, causing a shift in bullet impact or a decrease in accuracy.
Synthetic stocks were invented to minimize this effect and were a giant step forward, but precision rifle shooters were still not satisfied with the consistency of engagement between the action, recoil lug, and the stock. So, they machined pillars of solid aluminum with tolerances of .001 of an inch and bedded them into the stock in order to alleviate one more variable. Of course a solid aluminum chassis answers all of these problems by delivering the greatest probability of repeatable accuracy.
Reason 2: Adaptability. With the huge interest in AR-15 style rifles, there are literally hundreds of butt stocks and pistol grips being produced by aftermarket manufacturers. The Outdoorsmans Chassis System can be fitted with a number of components, allowing the shooter to customize the rifle’s geometry without a trip to the gunsmith. With a collapsible stock like the Magpul MOE, you’ll have a .5-lb stock with a range of adjustment of more than 3″ to the length of pull (LOP), all for just $39.95*. Mission First Tactical offers the Battlelink Minimalist stock with the similar LOP adjustment and it weighs in under 6 oz!
Style, Action, & Stock
The Outdoorsmans Chassis System employs the AR-style pistol grip (but not the beavertail types), of which I’ve always been a huge fan. Pure target shooters may argue the ergonomics of this hand position and its effect on accuracy, but the improved control over the rifle is undeniable. The vertical orientation and the ability to wrap your shooting hand completely around the grip just feels better to me.
The Outdoorsmans Chassis system is currently available for Remington 700 ADL and BDL, both long and short actions. There are many custom actions on the market that are based on the Remington action, but there are just enough variations that a qualified gunsmith will be required to properly assemble the rifle.
As you may know, the Remington ADL action employs a blind box magazine, meaning rounds are loaded down through the action into the magazine, and there is no removable magazine or drop away floor plate. The BDL model 700 does have a hinged floor plate.
By using this ADL blind box magazine design, the Outdoorsmans engineers could shave significant weight from the chassis without compromising the strength and rigidity of the stock. A BDL action will work, but at this time you would need to purchase an ADL magazine box. An adapter for the BDL is in the works, as is a long-action version for the Remington. Both should be available by the time you read this article.
The stock is machined from a solid billet of 6061 T-6 aluminum, which offers a tremendous strength-to-weight ratio. The first version is available in all-black anodize or what I call the “spider web” black camo.
The stocks weigh in at a scant 21.4 oz. The short-action sells for a ridiculously affordable $449, while the long action goes for $469. The short forend of the stock has three separate sets of threaded holes for mounting Picatinny rails, to which a whole host of accessories can be mounted, such as bipods, laser sights, flashlights, etc. An adapter plate can be mounted that will allow the rifle to be mounted directly to an Outdoorsmans tripod.
The Kitchen Table Gunsmith
Real gunsmiths call guys like me “coffee table gunsmiths”, meaning I know just enough to get myself into trouble! But with an out-of-the-box Remington 700 ADL, I have all the skill necessary to assemble a complete rifle with the Outdoorsmans Chassis System, and here is the visual proof in photos. By the way, in case you were wondering, the following photos were taken in my kitchen and all the work was performed on my kitchen table.
1: This Remington 700 ADL is chambered in .243 and comes from the factory with a 24” barrel.
2: Remove the action and trigger guard screws. I highly recommend you get a Tipton Gun Vise; you will never regret this purchase.
3: Remove the action and magazine spring and follower.
4: Attach the butt stock to the Outdoorsmans Chassis System. Getting the stock to index properly will take some trial and error, so take your time and get it straight.
5: Insert the barreled action and magazine spring into the chassis.
6: Replace the old action screws with the provided titanium screws. Due to the inherent properties of titanium and aluminum, you should use a dab of included anti-seize lubrication.
7: Tighten down action screws, preferably with a torque wrench like the Wheeler Fat Wrench, with 50 lbs. on the front screw and 40 lbs. on the back screw.
8: There are multiple folding stock adapters on the market. Ask the guys at the Outdoorsmans which ones they would recommend.
9: With the attached adapter plate, you can mount your rifle directly to any of the Outdoorsmans tripod heads.
10: Up to three Picatinny accessory rails can be mounted on the forend for sling attachment, bipod, laser sight, or illumination devices.
The Chassis system is available at Outdoorsmans! Check it out here or give them a call at 800-291-8065